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My Experience with Payhip for Selling Digital Patterns · Crochet Designer's Honest Review

If you're looking to sell your digital patterns and tutorials, there are a number of different options online, all with pros and cons!  Etsy and Ravelry have been my main go-to's in the past, and now I'm really excited to share that I've found a better option that I'll be sticking to: Payhip

Firstly, let me start by saying this... I'm about done with Etsy.

Etsy's seller and transaction fees have always been on the steep end, and very recently, they introduced yet another fee increase.  A lot of sellers have bashed them from being greedy, and I'm not one to disagree.  They have also deactivated some of my products (such as Emerie the Emerald Princess) for copyright reasons, claiming that my doll looks like a well-known copyrighted character.  A lot of this confuses me because Emerie was actually an original character of mine, and if you check out her page, you'll see that she looks like quite a generic girl doll.  My case isn't an isolated one, either -- I've had crochet friends whose listings got shut down for no apparent or logical reason either, such as a bow with beads in it, while tons of intentionally-copied Minnie Mouse patterns are still lounging all over Etsy.  The unfairness of it for sellers has been really frustrating to work with, and for that reason, I'm pulling away from my use of Etsy.  Not a fan at all.

I've since then began to hunt for a platform that would allow me to set up my own online storefront, free from unjust administrative moves and free from crazy high fees that take away much of the seller's hard-earned money.  

Other than being affordable, my main goals were to find a platform that is:

  • Quick and easy to create listings, 
  • User-friendly, 
  • Visually aesthetic,
  • Has good customer service, 
  • ...and includes powerful marketing and analytic tools!

I found just what I wanted in Payhip.  Let's talk about that.

By the way... feel free to check out my Payhip store directly if you'd like to see how it's set up!  An old, tech-challenged granny like me was able to do it, so I have good faith that almost anyone can do the same!

How are the fees with Payhip? 

Firstly, there are NO LISTING FEES (and definitely no "expiration dates" on listings) like Etsy, so you can rest assured that you won't be penalized just for putting up a product and then having anxiety over whether or not you're going to sell your product within 3 months.  Losing money for just having a storefront is terrible and utterly discouraging!  With Payhip, you only pay fees once your product is sold, and it's a transaction fee that varies depending on the plan that you get.  

I would recommend getting the basic free plan without any monthly fees. While the transaction fee of 5% is higher than the premium plans with monthly fees, it's more economic unless you are getting more than $1000 USD in revenue each month!  For starters, while we'd love to be optimistic, it's probably not going to get there, so I'd recommend sticking with their free plan until you gain some traction.  Upgrading can happen at any time, so there's no pressure on that front!

What's it like to get started with Payhip? 

It's quite easy to just get up and running with Payhip.  From registration to reviewing/fine tuning the settings and getting my first listings up, my shop went live within the span of an hour.

I really appreciated that the platform was straightforward and easy to use to get a quick start, with some additional features and marketing tools to explore when I have some more time on my hands to look it over.  

What's it like to list a pattern on Payhip? 

I can't tell you how easy it is to list a digital product on Payhip!  I love how user-friendly the system is, the listings page is literally just ONE page to insert all the info you want about the product.  Unlike Ravelry, where you have to navigate through a dozen pages (it's literally 12...I counted) just to list a pattern, Payhip makes it so easy by putting everything on one page.  They don't have a bunch of categories and boxes to have to tick off like Etsy.  

It usually takes me less than a minute to create each listing by copying+pasting my listing information, uploading the PDF pattern and product photos, and tick off a couple of simple boxes that give me some marketing boosts.

It's no-nonsense and you can get as detailed or descriptive as you'd like, or lean more on the minimalist side.  I'm grateful for this because it allows for flexibility! 

How's Payhip's customer service?

My experience with Payhip's customer service has been really positive.  I've had several questions during the process, mostly logistical and technical as I was trying to understand how payment/fees worked.  Customer service was quite fast (within minutes or hours) for all my inquiries, so it felt like they were at my fingertips.  I really like that about any type of online service!

In addition to being prompt, customer service has also been very thorough and effective in addressing my questions.  They're consistently very courteous, which is a nice and refreshing plus, and I'm just grateful that they answer all my questions so well with a helpful attitude.  I have to admit, I asked a couple very dumb questions during the process (which I've come to find out later on as I gained more experience with the platform), but they've never made me feel that way.  

I'm really satisfied with their service!

Oh, and before I forget -- they also have a suggestions box on the front dashboard, stating:  "What would make you really happy with Payhip? It can be a feature or anything at all. :)"

How lovely is that?  It's just so accessible, friendly, and client-focused!  

What are some special features when it comes to marketing and analytics? 

I really love a lot of these features that Payhip provides!  They have all the standard tools, like setting up promos and coupon codes, and also some unique features that I haven't seen on other platforms. 

Here are some of their marketing features:
  • Coupons · Create promotional campaigns by adding coupon codes to your products.
  • Social discounts · Spread the word about your products. Let customers receive discounts when they share on Facebook.
  • Affiliate program · Let your friends and fans spread the word for you and reward them.
  • Mailing list · Setup your mailing lists here so that customers can be automatically subscribed. 
  • Cross-selling · Promote your products to customers when they add an item to their cart (eg buy one, get one half price)
  • Referral · Incentivise your customers to share your products with their friends and supercharge your sales.
  • Upgrade · Encourage buyers of one product to purchase other products with a special discount

These are all great marketing tools, and the "mailing list" in particular is SO helpful to me as I am trying to grow my mailing list!  It's not available on Etsy or Ravelry, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Payhip offer it.  You can basically get your customers automatically added to your mailing list, which is super helpful!

For the Analytics side of things, you can view analytics for all products or a particular one, and choose the time period you wish.  You'll be able to see your sales report as well as the number of unique customers, orders, and views.  There's a sales breakdown to show your most popular products by ranking.  You can also view your top visitor sources (e.g., direct, different channels of social media, etc).  There's also a conversion rate and statistics, as well as a map to show your customers' demographics by country.

The information is all laid out in an easy-to-read and understand manner, with helpful visuals like charts and graphs as-needed.  Very well-designed and more than I would've expected! 

Another awesome feature that I have to mention is that there's a download activity log for the digital products.  This means that you'll be able to see when your customer downloaded the file, where they downloaded (city, country), and how many times they've downloaded.  This isn't available on Ravelry, and the information is very minimal on Etsy, so I definitely appreciate that Payhip has this perk.

Why have your own online storefront when there's Ravelry and Etsy?

As I've mentioned earlier about Etsy, there are a lot of unfair decisions that the corporation makes that penalizes sellers, or don't work in the favor of sellers.  Ravelry has been fine to use, with the main reason being that it naturally brings traffic from crocheters using the search database. However, Ravelry does maintain administrative control and has deactivated or removed some patterns that don't fit their agenda.  I think that it is very helpful for crochet designers to always have their own online storefronts anyway, so that you can truly have administrative control and make your store your own!

Final Thoughts

I'm so happy that I found this platform set up my store in!  This plan to have my own online storefront has been a long-time goal, and I'm happy to finally break free from depending on Etsy and Ravelry.  I am very pleased with Payhip's ease of use, customer support, clever features, and well-designed service as a whole.

I hope that this comparison between Payhip vs. Etsy and Payhip vs. Ravelry is helpful for those of you searching for a platform to sell your digital products!  I think it's great to use whether you're selling crochet patterns, bundles, ebooks, online courses, or more.  

Alrighty. Until next time, my fellow creatives!

Warm wishes,